Jackboot Germany: A New History of the Gestapo


“In fact, most Germans rarely bumped into the Gestapo. They were satisfied with the dictatorship because they believed its promise to eliminate disruptive elements from public life: Communists, repeat offenders and so-called asocials who contributed nothing to the “national community.” Many citizens shared Gestapo fantasies of “cleaning up” the country by throwing “riffraff” into concentration camps. Family doctors and social workers joined Gestapo officers to identify “disabled” or “work-shy” individuals for incarceration or sterilization. A majority of Germans did not find the boundary between order and disorder arbitrary. The Gestapo gained legitimacy precisely because it left most people alone. “

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